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Program launched in Louisville to help employees finish college

Partnership with seven regional schools

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (March 1, 2017) — Mayor Greg Fischer today launched Degrees Work, a city-sponsored startup that works directly with companies and organizations to encourage their employees to return to college and complete a degree.

Print“With today’s low unemployment rates, companies are in a fierce battle to attract and retain talented employees,” Fischer said.  “Degrees Work offers those companies an affordable way to help more of their employees go back to college to earn 2-year and 4-year degrees – increasing retention and employee engagement while adding skills to their teams.”

For the past seven years, Louisville has been working to improve college attainment through 55,000 Degrees, the city’s education movement that has a goal of 50 percent of Louisville’s workforce earning at least an associate’s degree by 2020.

A key part of that has been focused on adult learners. More than 91,000 people in the Louisville area have some college credit but still lack a degree. Many of them work at companies that offer tuition-reimbursement programs and other educational benefits, but often struggle to utilize these benefits to earn the degree they’ve long wanted.

Degrees Work brings college coaches to an employer’s workplace. The coaches provide one-to-one support for employees, helping them find and enroll in a flexible degree program that matches their lifestyle, finances and career goals; find ways to pay for college; and ensure they receive credit for prior learning, including credit transfers.

Degrees Work has partnered with seven area colleges and universities — Bellarmine University, Indiana University Southeast, Ivy Tech Community College, Jefferson Community & Technical College, Spalding University, Sullivan University and the University of Louisville.

Each of the schools have assigned a staff member to work with Degrees Work clients to make sure the returning-to-college process is as smooth as possible – including priority admission and waived application fees.

Employers pay a sliding scale fee for Degrees Work services, starting at $3,000 a year for small companies with up to 10 employees, and increasing for larger businesses.

Degrees Work is operated by KentuckianaWorks, the Workforce Development Board for the Louisville area.